Reviews

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Murphid - Review

We’ve heard from developers that the XNA framework makes it easy to port games between Xbox 360 and Windows Phone.  That’s a good thing as gamers who enjoy a game on the big screen may also want to play it on the go and vice-versa. One indie game that recently made the transition from 360 to Windows Phone is Murphid from Decapod Studios. While Murphid’s name might lead one to expect a connection to Robocop, it’s actually an unrelated but unique puzzle game.

Drop past the break for our full review.

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Spinballs Special Edition - Review

If you're looking for a bubble buster type game with a twist (or in this case spin), check out the Windows Phone game Spinballs Special Edition. Spinballs SE is very similar to the original Spinballs game but adds an additional gaming mode (more on this in a bit).

The object of the game is simple, line up three or more of the same colored balls to have them explode off the screen. The twist or spin in this case is that the balls are placed on seven spinning wheels.

Throw in two game modes, four bonus items, a pesky timer and you've got a decent game on your hands. Spin on past the break to read more about Spinballs SE.

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In the second part of our Windows Phone voice navigation round-up, we set our sites on aSpass and Silver Navigator. In part one of the round-up we took a look at GPS Voice Navigation and Turn by Turn Navigation. Both were very good navigation apps but we gave the edge to Turn by Turn Navigation.

aSpass and Silver Navigator aren't as feature heavy as GPS Voice or Turn by Turn nor are they as expensive. aSpass is running $3.99 while Silver Navigator runs $2.99.

Over the past week we took both voice navigation apps on the road to see how they performed. We hit neighborhood streets, highways and by-ways. Areas where signal strength was strong and where it was dismal. Does the lack of features hurt these apps or is simpler better? We'll break things down after the break.

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Windows Phone Word Game Round-up

To many, word games on your Windows Phone are a great way to pass the time with. These games can be challenging and mentally stimulating. Heck, you might even learn a few new words from some of these games.

You can compete against yourself, time, the phone or other gamers that are a bazillion miles away. You can find words, create words, and complete words.

Personally, I like the word games that developers have brought to the Windows Phone table and thought it was time to round up a collection. We'll break them down into three categories; Scrabble types, Word Search types, and Hangman types.

To see a list of our favorites from each, ease on past the break.

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Bunker Buster - Review

Bunker Buster is a aerial bombing game for your Windows Phone that not only tests your bomb dropping skills but also your concentration. The multi-level game has you playing the role of not only the bomber's pilot but also the bombardier.

The game offers a wide variety of targets, terrain and aircraft. Throw in leaderboards, a handful of rewards, and comic styled graphics and Bunker Buster has the potential to be a welcomed addition to the Windows Phone gaming library.

To read more on Bunker Buster, fly on past the break.

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To say "Mango" for Windows Phone 7 is a large update is a bit of an understatement. It's massive. Although we have had two updates to our fledgling OS, both have been relatively minor. "Mango", however, is Microsoft's attempt to fill in all the gaps left from the v1.0 release last fall. Can it succeed?

We've been able to handle a preview release of "Mango" for the last few days and have put it through various tests, comparisons and the all important "just using it like a normal phone". Our device was the venerable Samsung Focus running Windows Phone 7.661.WP7_5_Trial (mojobld).20110607-1957, which means this is a relatively late build (June 7th) and as you can see, Microsoft seems to be going with "7.5" for this release.

How did it fair? What did we learn? Lets just say you won't be disappointed and yes, it's basically everything Microsoft has been touting it to be since February--no smoke and mirrors here. So hit on past the break for our hands on review, four videos, photos and more. Then you can hit us up in comments and we'll try our best to answer.

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Hipstar - Review

There are plenty of photo effect apps for your Windows Phone but Hipstar adds a nostalgic feel to things. The app brings an old, fixed lens camera into the mix and designs the user interface around the camera.

Hipstar adds a vintage look to things by adding light leaks and vignetted corners to your photos. It gives the images a 60's Kodachrome feel. We like the concept and while Hipstar has potential, it falls a little short of the mark.

Snap on past the break to read more on Hipstar.

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Voice navigation has landed on your Windows Phone by way of apps such as GPS Voice Navigation, Silver Navigator, aSpass and Turn by Turn Navigation. These navigation apps bring the spoken word to your travel directions, But which is better?  Prices range from $2.99 to $6.99 but which are worth the price of admission and which aren't?

We decided to do a head to head comparison of the various voice navigation apps available for your Windows Phone.  First up, we take a look at GPS Voice Navigation and Turn by Turn Navigation.  They are the heavy weights of the group (both in price and features) and we'll turn our sights on Silver Navigator and aSpass next.

We recently took both GPS Voice and Turn by Turn out for a road trip to see how well both performed. Did GPS Voice Navigation out perform Turn by Turn or did it land us in the middle of nowhere? Did Turn by Turn steer us into a cow pasture or did was it the shiny coin between the two?

You know the drill. To find out how these two navigation apps shook out, navigate your way past the break.

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Verizon HTC Trophy - Review

Verizon Customers may say, "It's about time" with regards to the release of the HTC Trophy but I think they will be very pleased with their first Windows Phone 7 device. The Trophy completes the Windows Phone coverage for the major U.S. Wireless Carriers and isn't a shabby addition to the Windows Phone line up.

We had the opportunity to get our hands on an HTC Trophy for a few days and the Windows Phone made a nice first impression. The phone felt good in the hand, had a nice design to it, and the 3.8" screen looked good. To see if our first impression was changed much after using the Trophy for a few days, make the jump past the break.

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Seidio vs. Mobi: Hard Shell head to head

If you want to give your Windows Phone a little protection, a hard shell case is one option that won't weight you down. Mobi Products and Seidio both offer a hard shell case for various Windows Phones. These cases offer an extra layer of protection to the back and sides of the phone while adding very little overall bulk to your Windows Phone.

But does one stand out from the other? Is the Mobi case a better deal than the Seidio? Or is the higher priced Seidio hard case worth every penny?

Make the jump past the break and see how these two cases perform when used with the HTC HD7s.

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Doodle Jump - Review

Slowly but surely, all of the major iPhone gaming hits are finding their way to Windows Phone. It’s important that Microsoft’s young platform has the games that people like and want to play. The latest game to make the jump to Xbox Live is Doodle Jump, originally developed by Lima Sky. The Windows Phone version was ported by Mr. Goodliving (who were shut down by owner RealNetworks prior to the game’s actual release) and Game-Lion Studios. Doodle Jump has been a huge success on other platforms due to its unique, appealing art style, precise accelerometer-based controls, and easy-to-learn, hard-to-master game play.

Is Doodle Jump just as much of a standout on Windows Phone? Step, no, jump past the break to find out.

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Qmadix BoostPac - Review

While Windows Phones have noticeably improved power management to get the most of your battery, every now and again you might need a boost of power. You could use a car charger or carry around an extra wall charger/USB cord but what about the times you don't have a charging source? Enter the Qmadix BoostPac.

This little one inch square cube is a 1000mah Lithium Ion battery that will give your Windows Phone enough power to get you to that electrical outlet or car charger. The battery has a built in shutoff to protect your phone from over-charging and LED indicators to show you how much power is left and when re-charging is complete.

Continued after the break.

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Quadrata and Triangula - Double Header Review

Remember the line game squares? Some may have called it "Dots and Boxes".  You know the game.  Where you drew a grid of dots on a piece of paper and took turns connecting them to build squares? Arkady Elterman has developed two games built around the old paper and pencil game.

These two Windows Phone games are so close, they could have been game modes under the same title. So similar that a double header of a review can cover both under the same headline.

To read more on Quadrata and Triangula, move on past the break.

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Armored Drive - Review

Elbert Perez has developed his fair share of Windows Phone games. From Steam Castle to Impossible Shoota to Traffic Cop, his efforts have produced some interesting, entertaining games. One of his latest titles, Armored Drive, continues in this tradition.

It's a road race, dodge traffic and balls falling from the sky type game. It reminds me of a Spy Hunter game or Steel Avenger but unique enough not to feel like "just another road game where you have to dodge traffic and fight off the enemy".

To read more on Armored Drive, zip on past the break.

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Ecolife Hydro Side Case - Review

Ecolife has a new case out for the HD7/HD7S. The Ecolife Hydro Side Case utilizes the same recyled material that Ecolife cases have become known for but also adds rubber edging.

The Hydro Side Case is a welcome addition to the WPCentral Store line-up and to see how well it matches with the HD7 (as well as the Samsung Focus), ease on past the break.

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Bubble Twist - Review

Looking for a simply, yet entertaining game for your Windows Phone? Like the Bubble Burst styled games but wish they did more? Check out Bubble Twist over at the Marketplace.

Bubble Twist puts a twist on your traditional lined, bubble bursting games. The object remains the same; grouping three or more of the same colored bubbles. But the playing field rotates.

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when Bubble Twist was downloaded. To see if I was pleasantly surprised, follow the break.

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Wordrix - Review

Okay... here's a cool, addictive game for your Windows Phone. Wordrix is a Boggle styles game for your Windows Phone that has you finding words amongst an assortment of letters.

As you create words, you earn points and the letters are replenished. You have two game modes, Local and Online with settings to allow you to customize the appearance of the game.

To read more on Wordrix, follow the break.

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Slice and Throw - Review

In the spirit of Fruit Ninja and Juice Factory, Slice and Throw is being offered over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. Slice and Throw is more in line with Fruit Ninja but without the fruit.

The game objective is to slice threw scrolls that are tossed in the air and throw shuriken stars at moving objects in the background. Yep... ninja stars!

Move on past the break to read more on Slice and Throw.

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Guitar Hero 5 Mobile - Review

If you play music games on consoles and also have friends who play real instruments, then you probably know at least one who won’t be bothered to play said games because he’d rather be doing the real thing. It’s a snooty perspective in which the musician is actually bothered by the idea of people pretending to do what he (or she) does without going through years of practice. You can try to tell them how the singing in Rock Band and Guitar Hero is real singing (karaoke-style), but by that time they’re probably outside smoking a cigarette while thinking of how much cooler they are than you.

Just as music snobs don’t get music games, as a music gamer, I don’t quite get Guitar Hero 5 Mobile. The real Guitar Hero is a simplified simulation of the complex act of making music that uses plastic instruments. The mobile version is a simplified simulation of that simulation, sans plastic instruments. It helps if you think about it that way – this version in no way recreates the act of making music. But it is kind of like playing the console game on a touch screen. Perhaps that’s reason enough for it to exist?

Plug in your amp and follow the jump for our full review.

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Super Monkey Ball - Review

Back in elementary school, I once bit into a piece of fried okra thinking it was a Tater Tot. What should have been a delicious, tiny hash brown actually tasted like green death, forever ruining okra for me.

Super Monkey Ball on Windows Phone is a lot like that. On the outside, it has all the makings of a quality game – cute characters, a fun premise, fairly good graphics, and catchy music. I was really looking forward to it before it came out. Beneath Super Monkey Ball’s tasty exterior, however, lies an unpleasant surprise: utterly abhorrent tilt controls.

The Super Monkey Ball series has made quite a name for itself since its debut in Japanese arcades and subsequent release as a GameCube launch title. Players guide one of four monkeys (each inside of a clear ball) across one or more floating platforms and through a goal, avoiding hazards and collecting bananas along the way. The only significant difference between the monkeys is the annoyingness of their voices – I found GonGon to be the most tolerable. Anyway, instead of directly controlling the monkey, you tilt the maze itself and try to steer the monkey where it needs to go. It’s a fun and unique concept.

Roll past the break for our full review.

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